Senior Physical Optics Engineer

Thorlabs, Inc., Newton, NJ, United StatesEmployer Description

Founded in 1989, Thorlabs seeks to accelerate the forward movement of scientific discovery and advancement! As a vertically integrated manufacturer of photonics components, instruments, and systems, our vast product portfolio includes over 20,000 items, ranging from optics and optomechanical positioning components to imaging systems, many of which are customer inspired.

Photonics is the foremost technology driving innovation in science and engineering. As the number of technological innovations has grown, Thorlabs has extended its core competencies in an effort to play an ever increasing role serving the Photonics Industry at the research end, as well as the industrial, life science, medical, and defense segments.

Headquartered in Newton, NJ, Thorlabs has grown to over Approximately 2,300 employees with manufacturing and sales offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden, Japan, China, and Brazil. As light-based technologies push into new markets, Thorlabs plans to enter early with the products and services required to ensure the ultimate success of our customers.

Job Description

This senior position requires an individual with Physical Optics and Optical Simulation experience. Responsibilities include designing, analyzing, and modeling optical systems that employ lenses, diffractive elements, and or, metasuraces and metamaterials. The engineer will be responsible for managing projects from concept to finished products. Although the location of the position is in Newton, NJ, from time to time it may be required to undertake duties at other facilities or Thorlabs locations.

Essential Job Functions include the following, but are not limited to:

  • Design products for manufacturability which utilize physical optics and sub-wavelength scale surface features for manipulation of light in novel ways. Analysis may include Rigorous Coupled Wave or Finite Difference Time Domain.
  • Model novel optical systems using Lumerical or COMSOL Multiphysics Simulation Software, as well as other optical design packages such as Zemax, CodeV or OSLO.
  • Review market, fabrication capabilities, and other applicable sources to determine requirements and/or feasibility of components. Communicate with industry to understand and define their needs.
  • Prepare technical data such as qualification test procedures, acceptance test procedures, reports, component maintenance manuals, etc.
  • Acts as technical expert for the company for both internal and external customers.
  • Keep current with newest applications, products, and manufacturing techniques within the industry. Share, discuss, and collaborate while looking for opportunities to implement.

Thorlabs values its diverse environment and is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. All qualified individuals will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identify or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age or veteran status. Job descriptions are not intended as and do not create employment contracts. The organization maintains its status as an at-will employer. Employees can be terminated for any reason not prohibited by law.

Job Requirements



  • Some industry experience or related coursework in the field of Physical Optics, Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA) or Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD). Familiarity with current Optical and Semiconductor fabrication techniques helpful.


  • Minimum BS degree, preferably a PhD, in Optical Sciences, Electrical Engineering, Physics, or a related discipline.

Specialized Knowledge and Skills:

  • Some hands-on experience in optics, physical optics, nanoscale photonics, metamaterials, and polarization.
  • Familiarity with Multiphysics Simulation Software, e.g. COMSOL or Lumerical
  • Some experience in a computer language such as MATLAB, C++, Python, Labview, Visual Basic
  • Familiarity with optical modeling software, specifically Zemax or Code V, but also relevant TFCalc, Essential MacLeod, Filmstar, OSLO, etc.
  • Knowledge of nanostructure design and or lithography, helpful
  • Strong project Management skills with a deep sense of ownership
  • Strong ability to take initiative, demonstrate innovation, and flexibility/adaptability in a fast-paced & dynamic environment

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